Israeli commandos March 15 boarded a CMA CGM chartered container ship bound for Egypt allegedly carrying weapons for militant groups in the Gaza Strip.
The Victoria was sailing from the Turkish port of Mersin to Alexandria, Egypt, when it was seized 200 miles off Israel.
The vessel, chartered by the French ocean carrier from Hamburg-based ship-owner Peter Dohle, began its voyage at the Syrian port of Latakia, according to an Israeli military spokesman.
Egypt news from JOC:
Shipping’s Chokepoint Risks
An initial search found three containers loaded with arms, and more of the ship’s 1,678 20-foot equivalent units will be examined when the ship docks in Israel, the spokesman said.
"The ship's manifests do not show any cargo in contravention [of] international regulations, and we do not have any more information at this stage," Marseille-based CMA CGM said in a statement.
"We are currently in contact with the vessel's owner in order to ascertain further information."
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, accused Iran of being behind the arms smuggling operation.
"On the boat we discovered many weapons destined for terror groups in the heart of Gaza," Netanyahu said.
"The only certain thing is the source of the weaponry was Iran, and there was a Syrian relay station as well. This is the main axis that provides the forces of terror in Lebanon and Gaza."
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